Millionaire Running Stag and Irish group winner Bernstein were represented by their first winners June 5
Dubawi, the first produce of deceased Dubai Millennium to race, won June 4 at Goodwood in his debut.
Upset-minded Lovely Rafaela would not be denied in a grueling stretch duel, nosing rival Western Hemisphere in the $184,925 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park.
A record crowd of more than 120,000 went from a roar to silence today at Belmont Park as Birdstone upset Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and denied racing its 12th Triple Crown winner.
Jockey Todd Kabel and Inish Glora stole the featured $322,250 Nassau Stakes (Can-III) with a cleverly planned pace strategy Saturday at Woodbine.
In Hand, a 4-year-old son of Belong To Me, made a strong rally to catch rival Host near the eighth pole and then won a battle to the wire for a neck victory in the 1 1/2-mile $100,000 Greenwood Cup Handicap Saturday at Philadelphia Park.
Water Cannon may have been the best 3-year-old among the six in the $75,000 Deputed Testimony, but fortune smiled on front-running Jane's Luck when the favorite's saddle slipped forward under Ryan Fogelsonger as the field ran down the backstretch.
Stellar Jayne, ridden by Robby Albarado, took the lead in the upper stretch and cruised to a 3 1/4-length win over Dynaville in Saturday's co-featured $161,400 Dogwood Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs.
Heavily favored Lunarpal, ridden by Shane Sellers, led from start to finish and held off a stretch charge by Consolidator to take a neck victory in Saturday's co-featured $132,088 Kentucky Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
Even though Smarty Jones just failed to win the Visa Triple Crown Challenge June 5 at Belmont Park, the Philly faithful were down, but not out. In fact, many of them said the colt based at Philly Park remains a champion even in defeat.
A strong five-furlong work on Saturday by Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift has trainer Murray Johnson looking forward to the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) June 12, his gelding's bid for a second consecutive victory in Churchill Downs' premier race for older horses.
Ema Bovary's nine-race winning streak came to end when she was unable to catch a game Coconut Girl in the $106,000 Desert Stormer Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park Saturday.
Pat Day sent Fire Slam through a narrow opening on the rail and Fire Slam edged out Teton Forest by a head to win the Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup (gr. II) today at Belmont Park.
Intercontinental broke poorly and had to check down the backside, but once Jerry Bailey found racing room, she spurted to the lead and won the $250,000 Just a Game Breeders' Cup (gr. IIT) Saturday at Belmont Park.
John Velazquez was on some speedballs Saturday at Belmont. A race after he guided Bear Fan to a track record going 6 1/2 furlongs, he took Speightstown on a tour-de-force at six furlongs.
Smarty Jones will have to do a lot to win as impressively as Bear Fan. The 5-year-old mare set a track record in taking the Vagrancy (gr. II) by nine lengths in the first of six consecutive graded stakes today at Belmont Park that will culminate with a run for the Triple Crown.
James L. Osborne's Island Sand rallied in the stretch under jockey Terry Thompson to win Friday's $250,000 Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park by 1 3/4 lengths.
The early money wagered on the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) has made Smarty Jones an overwhelming 1-5 choice over his eight rivals as he attempts to become racing's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
An early morning meeting between Smarty Jones' trainer John Servis and Secretariat's jockey Ron Turcotte provided a touch of history as Belmont Stakes (gr. I) day dawned Saturday.
Moderate rain didn't dampen the enthusiasm of fans at Philadelphia Park, the home of Smarty Jones, the morning of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). People began gathering at the gates to the picnic area at the Bensalem, Pa., racetrack at 5:30 a.m. EDT -- and remember, they can only watch the third leg of the Visa Triple Crown Challenge on television.
Two former jockeys who traveled to Belmont Park for the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) are fast becoming the talk of Philadelphia Park and quite popular with some members of the general public in the Delaware Valley, thanks to "The Legend of Smarty Jones."
Despite the strong likelihood of rain for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the skies over Long Island, New York were cloudy early Saturday morning as preparations continued for the classic race later in the day.
Yes, it is blasphemous to even think that Smarty Jones will be beaten in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). But it is still a horse race, and a mile and a half one to boot. And there will be some people who will try to win money and beat the favorite. Although I hate to even suggest that will happen, this column is for them. To all Smarty Jones fans who think this is a lock, read on at your own risk.
Keith Asmussen's Primal Storm dominated a field of 2-year-olds to win Friday's $106,300 Flash Stakes (gr. III) at five furlongs at Belmont Park.
Pesci, the promising 4-year-old filly and namesake of co-owner Joe Pesci, the Academy Award-winning actor, seeks her first graded stakes victory in Sunday's $100,000-added Hawthorne Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park.
Artie Schiller and Timo, evenly matched foes as 2-year-olds last year who went their separate ways over the winter, resume their rivalry in Sunday's $100,000-added Hill Prince (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park.
Francis Gaffard of France is spending two weeks at Hollywood Park in the Eoin Harty stable as part of the Darley Flying Start program, one of a dozen aspiring young horsemen earning racing experience.
Vangelis, a group II winner in France, is scheduled to be flown to California Sunday for the $350,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT), the 1 1/4-mile grass test at Hollywood Park June 12.
Jason Orman, trainer of Preakness (gr. I) runner-up Rock Hard Ten, is taking aim once again at Smarty Jones in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), saying "If we were running for second, we wouldn't be here."
Eddington, the third-place finisher in the Preakness (gr. I) and 10-1 on the morning line for Saturday's 136th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-olds, galloped a mile and three furlongs over Belmont's main track Friday. "He's ready," trainer Mark Hennig said. "He's doing as well as can be expected."
Forecasters upgraded the chance of showers to 60% at Belmont Park Saturday as Smarty Jones goes for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Suspected stamina limitations made it hard to predict a victory for Ouija Board in today's Vodafone Oaks (Eng-I) over 12 furlongs at Epsom, but that didn't stop the daughter of Cape Cross surging to an emphatic and historic seven-length win.
At the daily press conference outside Barn 5 at Belmont Park Friday morning, trainer John Servis' opening remarks were "I feel real good." He acknowledged that Smarty Jones was ready for his bid for the Triple Crown on Saturday and said the undefeated runner "knows it's time to dance."
An agreement in principle was reached Wednesday for a joint effort between Breeders' Cup and the Thoroughbred Championship Tour.
As Smarty Jones got his bath after gate-schooling and galloping around the Belmont Park oval Friday afternoon, Barn 5 got a little devine intervention: a surprise visit from the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Trainer John Servis is not worried about Smarty Jones getting the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) distance of 1 1/2 miles. But just a few months ago he was worried about the colt going 1 1/4 miles.
On the eve of his date with destiny, Someday Farm's Smarty Jones was schooled in the gate and galloped at Belmont Park in preparation for Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
A bankruptcy judge is considering a motion to sell off the assets of Racing Services Inc. and put the money toward claims from creditors, including $6.5 million in uncollected state taxes.
An official for Churchill Downs Inc. told some 200 financial analysts and fund managers gathered for the inaugural INVESTKentucky conference in Louisville Thursday the racing industry as a whole is in a period of flat growth.
Robert Costigan's Inish Glora, last year's Sovereign Award winner as Canada's top female turfer, takes on a select group of five rivals, including stakes-winning shippers Ocean Drive and Dyna Da Wyna, Saturday at Woodbine in the featured $272,250 Nassau Stakes (Can-III).
With nine consecutive victories, 5-year-old mare Ema Bovary puts the longest winning streak in the nation on the line Saturday in the $100,000-added Desert Stormer Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park.
Ticker Tape, deprived of a third straight stakes victory by a head loss in the Senorita Stakes (gr. III), will attempt to regain her winning stature in Saturday's Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Hollywood Park turf Saturday.
Trainer Steve Asmussen, who leads the nation in wins in 2004, saddles Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's unbeaten and heavily favored Lunarpal in Churchill Downs' $125,000-added Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) on Saturday.
Weather forecasters are predicting a very good day for Belmont Park on Saturday as Smarty Jones tackles the Triple Crown, although there could be scattered showers to go with a high of 58 degrees.
- By Jack Shinar
The minimum weight for Thoroughbred jockeys in California would be raised to 118 pounds under a regulation approved for a 45-day public comment period by the state's horse racing board June 3.
Bill Nader, senior vice president of the New York Racing Association,
and Dan Fick, the executive vice president and executive director of The
Jockey Club, have been appointed to the Equibase Management Committee.
Mr. O'Brien started the season an average runner winning average races. Now that the year is in full swing the son of Mukaddamah is looking to dominate when he takes the gate for Saturday's $400,000 Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) going 1 1/4-miles on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has the strong entry of Value Plus and Forest Danger entered in Saturday's Riva Ridge Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park, but only one is expected to answer the call to post. A field of nine 3-year-old colts has been entered in the seven-furlong contest.
Sur La Tete, under a heady ride by Christopher Read, rolled to an open-lengths lead turning for home en route to winning the Meadow Brook Steeplechase (NSA-I) in course record time Thursday afternoon at Belmont Park.
- By Tom Precious
The New York state Senate June 3 gave quick approval to a plan to overhaul the regulation of racing in the state, including a provision designed to get video lottery terminals installed this year at Aqueduct.
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